Should You Still Submit Books to CGC?

The CGC ad in the most recent Comic Buyer’s Guide really caught my attention. The typical CGC ad shows a raw or ungraded comic book and the seller’s description compared to a CGC graded comic book. Both prices are shown and inevitably the CGC graded comic sells for far more. What caught my attention in this ad was how close in price two of the comics were.

The ad features an Avengers #4 (described Fine vs. CGC 7.0). The difference in price was $995 raw vs. $1,311 for the CGC 7.0. Pretty straight forward. The modern comic in the ad was a Lady Mechanika #1 described Near Mint vs. a CGC 9.8. The prices? $7.99 compared to $37.00 CGC.

But all is not as it seems. Let’s look at the math:

CGC Modern grading fee: $17
Postage (both ways): approx. $10.00 (postage is no longer trivial, especially if dealing with one issue).
Cover Price of a Lady Mechanika $2.99

Grand Total: 29.99
Profit for a CGC comic: approx. $7.01 (not including selling fees).
Profit for a “raw” comic: $5.00

This doesn’t include the risk you take sending a comic to CGC that may come back less than a 9.8.

What can you take away from this?

First, make sure you do the math on your comic with submission fees and postage. Include selling fees if you are flipping the comic.

Second, I highly recommend GPAnalysis if you play this game so you have some concrete sales to compare.

Third, be very sure you know how to grade accurately. CGC doesn’t reveal their standards so you could end up submitting a book and it could come back lower than 9.8. You’d take a bath on the comic in that case. You probably want to ship several modern books at once so you can save on shipping and also use the prescreen service at CGC so you don’t full price to get a lower grade book back.

6 Responses to “Should You Still Submit Books to CGC?”

  1. Hey Sean;

    Haven’t heard from you in a while. Good post, but let’s get a tad bit controversial. Your analysis suggests that the CGC fee, postage, etc is passed on to the buyer. Do you think this is ultimately right?

    CGC has always been some what controvercial since its inseption a little over 10 years ago, as you are aware. This looks to be part of the controversy.

    A comic is a comic, worth what it is worth. Now granted with CGC certification, there is more physical protection and more certainty of physical attributes and the buyer should pay a little more for this over a raw comic. But should the buyer have to pay so much more just for CGC certs?

    A question for your readers to comment on!! Again, good post Sean.


    • admin says:

      Good to hear from you Dave!

      I would agree with you about the CGC fees, postage, etc. being passed on to the buyer. In my opinion this seems very similar to conversations throughout the community about how much a restored comic should sell for. Many people have the opinion a restored comic should sell for the price of the comic in it’s original condition plus the restoration fees. Sometimes it works out that way, sometimes not. I think we are seeing a similar situation with CGC.

      More common comics are not bringing the premium for being CGC graded that they once did. Some of the lustre of the entire CGC process has worn off and I think we have a more realistic market. On expensive or key books I think CGC is more of a benefit. When collectors/investors/speculators are spending a lot of money, they enjoy the third party “stamp of approval” if you will that CGC brings. Because of this certification they are willing to spend more. When the same people are buying a raw comic based on someone else’s description, there is a discount for the unknown variable or subjective nature of the grading.

      In any event, sending a comic to CGC is no longer a “no brainer.” It should be a deliberate decision.

      Thanks for the comments and feedback and take care!

  2. Angus says:

    Agreed that CGC comes into its own with keys. After all, in twenty years a CGC 7.0 Avengers #4 will still be a sealed 7.0, but are you willing to trust that a raw copy won’t have suffered further paper degradation, and might slip to a 6 or lower? This conundrum is what has convinced me to slab my silver age keys despite a preference for raw books.

    • admin says:

      Very good point. I know several collectors that encapsulate their comics for the same reason. There is no doubt the holder has been a very secure protective device, plus you get the added bonus of the locking in the grade like you mentioned.

  3. Mot Yrreb says:

    Don’t deceive yourselves by believing that CGC or PGX case will protect your book indefinitely. I have several CGC graded books and I do not believe the case is that reliable. I think you still have to protect the book from heat, light and moisture even inside the slab, so don’t hang it on the wall.

  4. Mot Yrreb says:

    The buyer should not have to pay more than half the cost of slabbing unless a previous agreement is made. Passing the cost on to the buyer is an assumption made by the seller and should not be taken for granted.
    Also, assuming a CGC or PGX graded book will ALWAYS REMAIN THE SAME because it’s PROTECTED is foolhardy: particularly over a long period of time.

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